EWS-WWF fosters discussion on a sustainable UAE marine environment for a thriving post-oil economy

DUBAI, — The Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF, EWS-WWF, hosted an exclusive meeting with influential business leaders today, to foster dialogue and raise awareness about the importance of the UAE marine environment and its relationship to the economy and industry.

The meeting, which took place during an especially organised dhow trip off the coast of Dubai, was supported by the attendance of and keynote speech delivered by Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, DTCM, CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre and EWS-WWF board member. Several topics were explored, including the important role of our seas in a post-oil economy, climate change risks for industry and business, and key drivers of marine conservation.

During a speech delivered to the senior business leaders in attendance, Al Marri said, “The UAE, and Dubai in particular, is spending a lot of time diversifying the economy and tourism plays a big part in this. The well-being and happiness of tourists and residents is paramount and the marine environment is an important factor. For people who grew up here, the sea is a source of passion, and for many of the visitors, Dubai is a beach and marine destination. My colleagues at EWS-WWF are raising awareness and working on critical marine programmes that need your support.”

The discussions that ensued focused on how a healthy marine environment provides a foundation for a strong and sustainable economy. Conversely, gulf waters are under pressure from ever increasing, unsustainable activities and climate change. Thus, immediate action is required.

Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Deputy Director-General of EWS-WWF, added, “The health of our marine ecosystems has a direct impact on several industries including food, water, transport and energy, as well as tourism and recreation in addition to having further impacts on many more. Accordingly, sustainable marine practices, planning and management directly benefits economy, business and society, facilitating the UAE’s future sustainability in a rapidly evolving post-oil economy.”

She continued, “We encourage the private sector, civil society and key decision-makers to take a more active role in understanding and working to overcome the challenges that face our marine environment and subsequent risks to UAE industry and business. We also invite them, and in particular the private sector, to collaborate with us through our Marine Programme, to help boost the resiliency and health of our marine environment.”

During the event, Ammar Shams, former Regional Head of Corporate Sustainability at HSBC, said, “In the absence of turtles and other marine species, everything else collapses. We need to reposition the marine conservation conversation to highlight the effects of change on the whole ecosystem.”

EWS-WWF’s Marine Programme seeks to create a network of marine protected areas with the united support of regional players. This programme will feed into WWF’s Global Priorities and contribute substantially to worldwide ocean conservation efforts.

Source: Emirates News Agency